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Old 08-26-2022, 09:37 AM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Aug 2022
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New Bus Owner - Ready to Build

Hi everyone,

I am an art teacher in Atlanta, GA. I recently purchased a tiny 1998 GMC Savana 3500 Shuttle Bus from my school
(The school bought new buses. So myself & the Janitor snatched up the old ones immediately)

I will not be converting the bus into a space for living, but rather into a mobile classroom and art studio so I can travel & teach art wherever I want and wherever I need. So it wont be a very fancy space, but nice enough and safe for students and myself to work in

I have no experience with building or carpentry, but I am excited to work and learn. What resources would you recommend to a very novice builder? Any books/ videos/ anecdotes/ advice you have to share would be greatly appreciated. Specifically looking at flooring at the moment.

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Old 08-26-2022, 10:58 AM   #2
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Location: Western MT
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Year: 1990
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Engine: Detroit 6-71TA, 10 sp.
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Welcome! Sounds like a fun project. You've found the right place to ask for advice - there have been others here who made art studio buses, though I can't remember their user names off the top of my head. I'd recommend getting acquainted with the search function. Some of the options under "advanced" can be pretty useful.

Another recommendation - don't get too enthusiastic with demolition. Taking the seats out is pretty straightforward, but if you have an itch to start cutting wires, stop and think VERY carefully before doing so. "I cut wires and my bus won't start" is the #1 most common thread theme here

Lots of good flooring options, but I'd consider roll vinyl or rubber "coin" pattern garage flooring for your application.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 08-26-2022, 12:53 PM   #3
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Thank you Tejon7!

This is my first time really browsing through the site. I will certainly utilize that search function. There is a TON of info to filter though.

Heard and understood regarding wiring. I certainly know my limits and am trying to just take it slowly & one step at a time.

I really appreciate your time & recommendations!

See you around! Cheers!
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Old 08-26-2022, 01:03 PM   #4
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Location: Iowa City, IA
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Originally Posted by Stumbles Sr. View Post
What resources would you recommend to a very novice builder? Any books/ videos/ anecdotes/ advice you have to share would be greatly appreciated. Specifically looking at flooring at the moment.
Welcome. I think you'll find this site is full of helpful people with good advice and a wide variety of opinions. I'd start with using a Google search for this site to find existing threads (go to Google and search "flooring").

I'm (slowly) working on a skoolie for myself, but I own a party bus fleet and have built a dozen of those in my life. Working on one of those at the moment too...

For the party buses we usually go with cost efficient and indestructible (drunken-idiot-proof) as our primary goals. For flooring we glue down waterproof lvp directly on the original floor, but it only lasts a few years. We go directly on the old floor with the party buses to save time and money - but in your case I'd rip up the old floor, take care of any rust, and lay down a new subfloor like most skoolie builders recommend. The benefit of lvp is it allows spilled booze and mop water (and the occasional interior pressure wash) to naturally drain out through the seams and trickle down through the old holes where the bus seats were bolted down. That same benefit is our curse as liquid gets into the subfloor and rots it out.

I've considered going to roll vinyl once we use up our stock of lvp but have not solved the drain problem, unless I literally install a shower drain in strategic places? Maybe I should just demo the floor to the metal base, rust prevent, and glue my lvp without a subfloor? All things to ponder... Maybe one of those ideas would work for you?

There are a few good resources on YouTube and a ton of bad ones. Bussy mcbussface is one of my favorites for ideas or inspiration. Chuck cassidy is also a good one. Diggers custom coaches is a good one for party bus design and may have some elements that will apply to your mobile classroom build.

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Old 08-26-2022, 09:12 PM   #5
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Join Date: Feb 2022
Location: Midwest
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There's also a steel rail along the wall at floor level that the seats are bolted to. That also stays. Without it, the roof comes down as all the roof rails are bolted to that chair rail.
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Old 09-04-2022, 11:45 AM   #6
Join Date: Jan 2015
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I plumbed and wired my house 20 years ago. (I still live in the same house) as a mechanic it wasnít too bad. I did get a couple of books at lowes to make sure I got it 100%. Right on the first try.
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